I'm not referring to neighing to your departing friends, but if that's your thing go for it. My goal for 2014 is to take more time to be present and take time out to DO less. It’s that time of year when everyone is developing goals to accomplish more and turn over a new leaf. I’m going to try to look at the leaf. And then leave that little sucker alone.
In other words I’m going to try to be more present and pause more. I especially want to do this with my horses. Horses aren’t attracted to what we DO. They are attracted to who we ARE. Yes, they will respond to certain body language and guidelines that we give them, but ultimately the moments of true connection to not come because you did “A” and your horse responded with “B”.
The most powerful moments I’ve had with horses are the moments when I’ve just felt like everything was right with the world, I had no attachment to a goal and just FELT the connection between us. Horses spend many hours bonding together as companions. They are teaching each other in relationship, but they aren't drilling each other through a series of linked movements.
My favourite moments in time with horses were the moments when we seemed to be connected by invisible heart strings and I just KNEW intuitively that they were 100% with me and I with them. I can remember a time when I intuitively knew that my mare, Extra, would leave her herd mates on a four acre pasture, come down the hill and join me at the gate if I just walked over. This wasn’t a behaviour she had ever done in the past, but I could feel in my bones that it would work and that is exactly what happened.
I want to bring this presence and grounded self to my training sessions. I often think that I pause a long time between movements to give my horse a chance to rest and process. Then I watch video footage and find out that I’m actually only pausing for a couple of seconds. It feels like a long time when I’m standing out in the Vancouver Island drizzle, but it’s only a quick beat to my horse.
Horses stand happily out in the pasture for hours with each other. We often feel challenged just standing and doing nothing for minutes. I’m actually good these days at sitting out and journaling, but I do need to pause longer in my sessions.
It’s also time to lighten up and play a bit. Horses of all ages still go for a good run and buck once in awhile. Try it yourself and as long as you don’t pull something…it will probably bring a smile to your face.
What are you doing in 2014 to be more horse like?